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Re: PDF documents in eEurope

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 11:43:49 -0500 (EST)
To: Steven McCaffrey <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
cc: eeurope@cec.eu.int, Rafael.Romero@uv.es, accesoweb@onelist.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.9912161139510.23421-100000@tux.w3.org>
It also depends what country you are in, or more particularly what languages
you understand - translating software to different languages happnes at
different rates, and can sometimes take a long time or never happen, so in
some languages people are much more restricted in available software than
english speakers. Even in dealing with an english-language document this can
be a problem - I use an english-language system (although I can sety my
browser, Amaya, to run in french, italian, german or partial czech
instead) but I often try to read documents in Spanish or French. If my native
language was something else, I may be stuck.

Charles McCN

On Thu, 16 Dec 1999, Steven McCaffrey wrote:

  I applaud your eforts in raising the issue of accessibility to PDF and actually writing a letter to the appropriate people.
  However, one of your statements is an incorrect generalization.       
  "...can not use standards graphical browsers, like blind people. 
   this is true ins some cases but not all.
  I am totally blind and use a graphical browser, as do many blind people.
  Even though I can and do use a graphical browser(IE 4.01), PDF is not generally accessible.
  The browser per se may  not be the issue, the fact that PDF is a graphical format is the issue.  Perhaps this is what you meant?
  Without the appropriate software to "view" the PDF file, even a sighted person cannot access it,, so the barriers PDF present fall under the broader category of denying access to those without the appropriate software, assistive or not.
  Even though there are freely available conversion services from Adobe, it is my experience that the ywork well only when the PDF document is very simple.   That is, documents without embedded pictures, charts, graphs, or even footnotes, ( anything that might interrupt the linear flow of text).
  Steve McCaffrey
  Information Technology Services
  New York State Department of Education
  >>> Rafael Romero <Rafael.Romero@uv.es> 12/16/99 06:44AM >>>
  To the attention of eEurope site webmaster.
  Dear sir or madam,
  I would encourage you to facilitate all texts relating to this new exciting initiative also in HTML format.
  Presently they can only be downloaded as PDF and this takes more than ten times longer than the equivalent HTML files. Not only so. PDF files do not allow to copy the text easily for citing in another documents and the users need an especific plugin to render them in their computers.
  More importantly, this format is not accessible for people with disabilities that can not use standards graphical browsers, like blind people. This would be hence a good way to start implementing what is intended as priority area 7, which is eParticipation of the disabled in the information society.
  For more information about accessible web design you could visit the site of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative at http://www.w3.org/WAI 
  Yours sincerely,
  		Rafael Romero.
           |        mailto:Rafael.Romero@uv.es         |
           |      Unidad de Investigación ACCESO       |
           |      Universitat de Valencia (Spain)      |
           |   C/ Artes Gráficas 13, 46010 Valencia    |
           | Tel: +34-963 864 135 Fax: +34-963 864 758 |
           |            http://acceso.uv.es/           |

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                    http://www.w3.org/WAI
21 Mitchell Street, Footscray, VIC 3011,  Australia (I've moved!)
Received on Thursday, 16 December 1999 11:44:48 UTC

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